Monday, October 19, 2009

A Useful Metaphor

Ideas enter the political conversation via radio waves and newsprint, usually shaped by the persons and groups who own the airwaves and the presses. And the rest of us ordinary folks nod our heads in agreement, because opinion shapers are clever. A few years ago the idea of the moment was a flat tax that would have shifted even more of the tax burden off rich people––who already pay at a lower rate than most of us do. I heard working class people applauding the idea. It sounded fair, but if you thought about it for a few minutes it made no sense at all. It required an analogy, a visualization that described why unequal size justifies unequal sharing of a burden, putting more burden on those capable of carrying it. The same could be said about health care. Why do we pile punishing costs and restrictions on people already burdened with illness and physical hardships?

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